Appeals Court Vacates Ban on US Horse Slaughter

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“THIS IS A DIFFICULT SUBJECT for me to discuss. I own horses & understand that due to overpopulation, lack of food or abandonment etc. it is causing welfare problems. Charities can’t protect every horse in need of a home, they will simply never have enough funds to protect them all. God…I wish they could, I hate to see horses or any animal for that matter suffer, no animal lover would want an animal to suffer unnecessarily. So to prevent this, if there is no other way possible to save them, I would prefer they were put out of their misery; in the kindest way possible & cremated.  Horses die from disease, injury or just old age & their bodies have to be dealt with whatever the circumstance.

“If owners are not permitted to dispose of the body themselves on their own land, which most aren’t; then the body (no matter how loved) has to be dealt with! I dread the day one of my horses dies or has to be put to sleep, but I don’t have land to bury them on or the required permission…it would literally break my heart, but I will have no option but to still call the knacker man (for want of a better word) to cremate the body & return the ashes to me, so I can do with them as I wish.”

“WHAT I  OPPOSE is the use of slaughterhouses TO KILL HEALTHY, ILL & ABUSED HORSES FOR FOOD & PROFIT! This planet already kills way too many animals to feed the population, some in the most barbaric, cheapest & despicable ways, with rife abuse & cruelty: which is why I don’t eat animals. Those who don’t own horses but own dogs, would find the practice of a slaughterhouse for dogs horrific & wouldn’t stand for it! Just as it is with horse owners/lovers… HORSES DO NOT BELONG ON THE MENU in this century or the next. By all means their bodies have to be dealt with…BUT NO HORSE SHOULD END UP ON A PLATE! Killing horses for their meat & profit alone is not justified; THOSE WHO WISH TO KILL HORSES FOR FOOD, ARE IN IT FOR THE MONEY, PURE GREED ALONE & IT IS THEY WHO SHOULD BE BANNED!!”

A federal appeals court on Friday removed a temporary ban on domestic horse slaughter, clearing the way for companies in New Mexico, Missouri and Iowa to open while an appeal of a lawsuit by animal protection groups proceeds.

abuse1

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver lifted the emergency injunction it issued in November after The Humane Society of the United States and others appealed the ruling of a federal judge in Albuquerque. The judge said the U.S. Department of Agriculture followed proper procedure in issuing permits to Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, N.M., Rains Natural Meats of Gallatin, Mo., and Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, Iowa.

The appeals court’s order Friday said the groups had “failed to meet their burden for an injunction pending appeal.”

Blair Dunn, an attorney for Valley Meat and Rains Natural Meats, said the order lifts the emergency status of the case, meaning it will likely be months before a final decision is issued.

Dunn said the plants are ready to open, although they could agree to remain shuttered if the plaintiffs agree to post a sufficient bond to cover the companies’ losses should they ultimately prevail.

“They are getting ready to go as quickly as they can. It shouldn’t take too long. Not more than two weeks,” he said.

The Humane Society, however, said “the fight for America‘s horses is not over.”

“We will press for a quick resolution of the merits of our claims in the 10th Circuit,” said Jonathan R. Lovvorn, the group’s senior vice president of animal protection litigation and investigations.

The plants would become the first horse slaughterhouses to operate in the U.S. since 2007. Congress effectively banned horse slaughter by eliminating funding for inspections at the plants in 2006. It restored that funding in 2011, but the USDA did not approve the first permits for horse slaughterhouses until this summer.

The issue has divided horse rescue and animal welfare groups, ranchers, politicians and Indian tribes about what is the most humane way to deal with the country’s horse overpopulation, and what rescue groups have said are a rising number of neglected and starving horses as the West deals with persistent drought.

Valley Meat and Responsible Transportation were set to begin horse slaughter operations in August, but U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo blocked their plans while she heard the lawsuit by The Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue and others. The groups claimed the plants should have been forced to undergo environmental reviews under provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act.

Responsible Transportation abandoned its horse slaughter plans and converted its plant to cattle before Armijo dismissed the lawsuit in November.

Attorneys for the plants have argued that the plaintiffs are simply in court because they are morally opposed to horse slaughter and are looking for a way to delay the plants while they lobby Congress for a ban.

Proponents of a return to domestic horse slaughter point to a 2011 report from the federal Government Accountability Office that shows horse abuse and abandonment have increased since domestic horse slaughter was banned. They say it is better to slaughter the animals in humane, federally regulated facilities than have them abandoned to starve across the drought-stricken West or shipped to inhumane facilities in Mexico.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, calls the practice barbaric and has said blocking a return to domestic horse “is an issue of national importance and scale.”

News Link:-http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/appeals-court-vacates-ban-us-horse-slaughter-21216265

Animal Welfare Groups Plan Suit in Response to USDA Decision to Support the Slaughter of Horses for Human Consumption

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“Scroll to the end of this post, to see a gallery of some of the worlds most beautiful horses…how could anyone even think, about killing one; let alone eating one??”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has given the green light for the grisly practice of horse slaughter to resume on U.S. soil. The agency approved an application for horse slaughter inspections under federal law at a plant in New Mexico.

This news comes on the heels of the U.S. House and Senate appropriations committees’ votes to halt all funding for horse slaughter in FY 2014. The decision means that the federal government could potentially spend millions of taxpayer dollars to start up inspections at horse slaughter plants, only to have Congress terminate the process in the coming months.

In response to the USDA’s decision, The Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue plan to file suit immediately against the USDA to put a stop to this agency decision. The two groups previously informed USDA that they would take aggressive legal action against the agency, in light of the serious unresolved environmental and food safety issues surrounding horse slaughter.

Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation at The HSUS, said: “The USDA’s decision to start up domestic horse slaughter, while at the same time asking Congress to defund it, is bizarre and unwarranted. Slaughter plants have a history of polluting their communities and producing horsemeat that is tainted with a dangerous cocktail of banned drugs.

“We intend to hold the Obama administration accountable in federal court for this inhumane, wasteful and illegal decision.”

Hilary Wood, president of Front Range Equine Rescue, said: “America’s horses are not raised as food animals, and they receive numerous substances during their lives making them unfit and illegal for human consumption. Adding insult to injury, the suffering of the horses in the slaughter pipeline and the danger to humans makes this action more than inhumane. Horses bound for slaughter have many alternatives open to them including re-training, re-homing, and humane euthanasia. We remain committed to stopping this insult to justice and our sense of justice.”

The USDA’s approval is particularly surprising, considering the recent scandal in the European Union, where horsemeat was discovered in food products labeled as beef.  The operation of horse slaughter plants in the U.S. will make it more difficult to prevent the commingling between horsemeat and beef products that occurred in Europe.

Horses are raised as pets and for use in show, sport, work and recreation in the U.S. and are regularly administered drugs that are expressly prohibited by current federal regulations for use in animals intended for human consumption. For example, a common pain reliever routinely administered to all types of horses, Phenylbutazone, is known to cause potentially fatal human diseases, and if the animal has taken the drug, the meat is adulterated and should not be eaten. There is also no system in the U.S. to track medications and veterinary treatments given to horses to ensure that their meat is safe.

Any facility slaughtering thousands of horses will necessarily be processing the blood, organs and remains of animals whose tissues and blood may contain significant amounts of dangerous substances, which are either known to be dangerous, or which have never been tested on humans and therefore present completely unknown dangers. At least six applications for horse slaughter inspections have been filed with the USDA.

Background:

  • This month, the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations committees voted to block funding for inspections of horse slaughter plants. President Obama’s proposed FY 2014 budget also included a request for Congress to prevent tax dollars from supporting horse slaughter.
  • The HSUS and FRER also filed petitions with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to declare horsemeat unfit for human consumption. USDA denied that petition.
  • According to a national poll conducted last year, 80 percent of Americans disapprove of horse slaughter.
  • “Kill buyers” gather up horses from random sources and profit by selling healthy horses for slaughter that bring the best price per pound for their meat. USDA reports show that approximately 92 percent of American horses going to slaughter are healthy and would otherwise be able to go on to lead productive lives.
  • The methods used to kill horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses often endure repeated blows to render them unconscious and sometimes remain conscious during the slaughtering process. When horse slaughter plants previously operated in the U.S., the USDA documented severe injuries to horses in the slaughter pipeline, including broken bones and eyeballs hanging from a thread of skin.
  • The Safeguard American Food Exports Act, H.R. 1094 / S. 541, introduced this year by U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Reps. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., is a bipartisan measure that would outlaw horse slaughter operations in the U.S., end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horsemeat.

News Link:-http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2013/06/usda-horse-slaughter-suit-062813.html

Some of the world most beautiful horses – should not end up on a dinner plate!

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Dept. of Agriculture Approves Horse Slaughterhouse Amid Lawsuit Threat

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“PLEASE NOTE – GRAPHIC IMAGES OF HORSE TRAILER ACCIDENTS – AT THE END OF THIS POST. Do not scroll down the post if you do not want to see them! They are just one of many reasons why these companion animals should not be slaughtered for human consumption; would you think it ok to send your family pet dog to slaughter? Horses were not put on Gods green earth for humans to eat, they are our pets; just as much as cats & dogs are!”

“It is pure greed, FFS we slaughter enough animals to satisfy the human hunger for meat. Nobody is going to starve, horses are not part of a normal persons diet. I am totally sickened & disgusted that this heinous act, the killing of Gods noble most beautiful creatures; is once more going to be in action!! I can only hope & pray that those who want to eat any part of a horse, after all the health scares etc. suffer a miserable & painful existence!! PLEASE sign the petitions”

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A New Mexico meat plant received federal approval on Friday to slaughter horses for meat, a move that drew immediate opposition from animal rights group and will likely be opposed by the White House.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said it was required by law to issue a “grant of inspection” to Valley Meat Co, Roswell, New Mexico, because it had met all federal requirements. Now, the USDA is obliged to assign meat inspectors to the plant.

The USDA also said it may soon issue similar grants for plants in Missouri and Iowa.

NO HORSE SHOULD END UP ON THE END OF A BUTCHERS HOOK!!

Horse meat cannot be sold as food in the United States, but it can be exported. Attempts to reach Valley Meat Co via a number listed on-line were unsuccessful.

Valley Meat would be the first meat plant to be allowed to slaughter horses since Congress banned it in 2006.

It is not known when the plant will start production, but two bills in Congress want to ban horse slaughter and President Obama has asked Congress to ban it.

The Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue threatened on Friday to sue the USDA, saying horses are raised as pets and as working animals. Because they are not intended as food animals, horses are given medications banned from other livestock, the groups said, questioning if the meat would be safe.

The USDA says it can test for residues of 130 pesticide and veterinary drugs. It also has safeguards to keep horse meat out of the food supply.

Congress effectively banned horse slaughter in 2006 by saying the USDA could not spend any money to inspect horse plants. Without USDA inspection, meat plants cannot operate.

The ban was part of the annual USDA funding bill and was renewed a year at a time through 2011. The prohibition expired in October 2011.

Lawmakers could vote on reinstating the ban in coming weeks when the USDA appropriations bills are debated in the House and Senate. But no date has been set to consider the bills and it could be months before work is completed.

The USDA said it was required by law to issue the grant of inspection because Valley Meat met all federal requirements. At one point, the company sued the USDA for an overly long review of its application. Once it issues a grant of inspection, the USDA is obliged to assign meat inspectors to a meat plant.

“Until Congress acts, the department must comply with current law,” said a USDA spokeswoman.

Valley Meat retrofitted its plant for horses after drought weakened its cattle slaughter business.

Horse meat is sold for human consumption in China, Russia, Mexico and other foreign nations and is sometimes used as feed for zoo animals.

But in the United States, horses enjoy a higher stature, more akin to house pets, than to hogs, cattle and chickens.

An estimated 130,000 U.S. horses are shipped annually to slaughter in Canada and Mexico. Groups have quarreled for a decade whether a ban on slaughter will save horses from a cruel death or lead to abandonment by owners of animals they cannot afford to feed or treat for illness.

Early this year, regulators discovered that horse meat was being sold as beef in Ireland. The mislabelled meat was found in meatballs sold by Swedish retailer IKEA in much of Europe and in other outlets.

IF YOU SCROLL FURTHER – GRAPHIC IMAGES ARE BELOW – VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED 

USDA conducts tests on domestic and imported products to identify the species that yielded the meat. The tests can distinguish beef, sheep, swine, poultry, deer and horse.

As well, USDA stepped up its species testing in April because of the meat adulteration scandal in Europe.

(Reporting By Charles Abbott; Editing by Bernard Orr)

News Link:-http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/06/29/dept-of-agriculture-approves-horse-slaughterhouse-amid-lawsuit-threat/

This link explains in a little more detail, worth reading:-http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130628-909609.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

HORRIFIC INJURIES OBTAINED WHILST TRAVELLING TO SLAUGHTER HOUSE 

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Animal Abuse Persists At Some Meat Plants

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The meat industry has been scandalized in recent years by undercover videos showing horrific abuse of farm animals on their way to slaughter: workers kicking piglets like volleyballs, skinning veal calves alive and ramming a forklift into a sick cow. (Undercover videos at end of this post)

The videos prompted commitments to improve enforcement of a 55-year-old federal law requiring that animals be insensible to pain when they’re slaughtered.

Although many slaughter plants and meat inspectors have worked hard to avoid further abuse, new evidence shows that problems continue.

A federal investigation released last month shows many animals still suffer needlessly.

The federal audit found that meat inspectors unevenly enforce humane-slaughter rules — or don’t enforce them at all. That’s because their bosses won’t support them, two whistle-blowing meat inspectors recently told The Kansas City Star.

Even efforts by the government’s “humane handling ombudsman” –– hired last year to improve enforcement –– reportedly were ignored in one recent case.

Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin, a meat industry consultant and a widely acknowledged expert on the humane treatment of animals, agrees there are still problems.

Inconsistent enforcement and vague regulations mean some plants get away with “really mistreating animals and doing bad stuff,” she said, while others abide by the law and are still unfairly punished.

A top meat inspection official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture acknowledged problems in uniformly applying the rules, but said he does not believe his agency would punish inspectors for enforcing the law.

It’s the law

The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1958 requires that food animals be slaughtered in a way “that causes a minimum of excitement, pain, injury, or discomfort.”

It says animals should be rendered “insensible to pain” before slaughter, a tall order in a country that last month alone killed 3 million head of cattle and 9.2 million pigs.

Today that is accomplished by electrical stunning, a bullet to the head, a “captive bolt” gun that drives a steel rod into the animal’s brain or –– in the case of pigs –– lowering them into a carbon dioxide gas chamber.

While some might see humane slaughter as the sole province of animal-rights groups and radical vegetarians, many in the meat industry have long embraced it.

Compliance with the law saves money, improves meat quality and keeps consumers happy.

When pigs are stressed before slaughter, for example, they produce what is called PSE, or “pale, soft, exudative pork,” which makes the meat dry and unattractive to consumers.

Despite the benefits, however, a number of incidents from 2008 to last year show enforcement is lacking.

A 2008 undercover video by the Humane Society of the United States showed a crippled, sick cow being shoved toward the kill floor of a California beef plant with a forklift. The video led to a recall of 143 million pounds of beef –– the largest in U.S. history.

In March 2010, Dean Wyatt, a USDA veterinarian, told a congressional hearing that when he tried to enforce the humane slaughter act, he was overruled by his bosses and eventually punished.

Those incidents led to renewed enforcement efforts.

Yet just last month, an audit by the USDA’s inspector general found that conditions in some plants haven’t changed.

At a plant in Minnesota, investigators saw a hog emerge from a carbon dioxide chamber still conscious and alert.

“Instead of immediately re-stunning the hog, it took plant employees over 1½ minutes to administer a stun with the captive bolt gun,” auditors said.

In a testament to one Indiana pig’s incredible luck and sheer will to live, auditors said the animal was stunned with a captive bolt gun that misfired, causing the bolt to lodge in the animal’s skull. It remained conscious and aware while the plant sent for another gun, which also misfired.

The hog remained conscious, squealed and somehow managed to dislodge the first bolt from its skull. Finally, workers put it out of its misery with an electric stunner.

Despite meat industry protests, the USDA began posting significant humane-slaughter violations on its website last year.

Among the 85 enforcement actions since May 2012 is a New York plant cited in March when inspectors found a calf that was still gasping for air after it had been partly eviscerated and skinned.

The meat industry’s primary lobby, the American Meat Institute, has actively promoted humane slaughter and says the low number of violations reflects “a high level of compliance by the industry.”

Whistle-blower

Some federal meat inspectors say their efforts to enforce the law are hampered by their bosses.

After federal meat inspector Jim Schrier documented problems late last year at a Tyson pork plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa, he said he was transferred to another plant miles from his home.

The plant stuns hogs with a hand-held electrical stunner.

Setting the stunner too high can cause a “blowout,” Schrier said, when hogs jerk abruptly, breaking their backbone and damaging valuable cuts of meat.

As a result, he said, stunners are sometimes set too low.

“That’s when you end up with hogs that are conscious, a violation of the humane slaughter act,” Schrier said.

Schrier said plant workers –– who are sometimes injured by animals that are conscious and kicking in mid-slaughter –– often had to re-stun the hogs with a captive bolt gun.

After he confronted his boss about ignoring his findings, Schrier said, he was transferred to another plant 120 miles away.

“We’ve been gagged the last few years if we stop the production line,” Schrier said. “And our supervisors never back us up.”

Several of Schrier’s co-workers backed up his claims, but asked not to be named for fear of retaliation.

Schrier, a food inspector for 29 years, sought help from the Government Accountability Project, or GAP, a nonprofit organization that offers legal help to whistle-blowers.

Schrier’s bosses at the USDA are reluctant to comment on his specific case.

But Dan Engeljohn, deputy administrator of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, said, “With regard to Mr. Schrier … I was aware of repeated behaviors over extensive periods of time … Sometimes employees need to start fresh with a new environment.

“In this particular case,” Englejohn said, “there is some history there that played into the decision about whether this employee would be better positioned elsewhere. There is a broader perspective here, not just the humane handling.”

GAP officials don’t agree.

“With 29 years of outstanding civil service and a near-perfect record of employment, it seems to me the only career mistake Mr. Schrier made was enforcing the law,” said Amanda Hitt, director of GAP’s Food Integrity Campaign, which is preparing to intervene on Schrier’s behalf.

A Tyson spokesman said the company was unaware of Schrier’s assertions.

He said the company trains its workers carefully and uses strict humane-handling guidelines developed by Grandin. He added that the plant monitors its electrical stunner to make sure it is working properly.

Official ignored?

Partly because of complaints such as Schrier’s, the USDA last year appointed a humane handling ombudsman, whose job is to help resolve complaints from inspectors and the public.

But the travails of Kansas-based meat inspector Judy Kachanes, a 26-year veteran of the agency, suggest the department isn’t making the ombudsman’s job any easier.

Kachanes said she contacted the ombudsman, Mark Crowe, after her bosses failed to take action on her complaints about humane-slaughter violations at a small meat plant in McPherson, Kan.

Eventually, her complaint made its way to Englejohn, who met Crowe in McPherson last year to look into the situation.

Englejohn said in documents obtained by The Star that the plant could probably improve its compliance with humane-slaughter rules, but he ultimately decided there was no violation.

Kachanes has since been reassigned to another plant, and she is currently being advised by GAP.

At the very least, said Hitt, of GAP, the case demonstrates that the inspection agency dismissed or ignored the efforts of its own humane handling ombudsman.

Hitt said Crowe told her that the USDA’s meat inspection division had “largely ignored” him in his efforts to resolve the matter.

Crowe declined to comment, but Englejohn acknowledged that Crowe wanted the agency to do more to address Kachanes’ concerns.

As for Kachanes, Englejohn said he was asked to look into her performance history, “and there is some history there that needed to be addressed.”

Hitt responded: “The only performance history in question is the USDA’s history of not enforcing the act.”

Downers

Some in the meat industry continue to fight efforts to improve humane practices, some animal-welfare groups say.

For example, the industry has pushed for state “ag gag” laws that make it a crime to take unauthorized videos at farms and slaughterhouses. Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas and 18 other states currently have ag gag laws.

“These ag gag laws are the worst thing agriculture ever did,” said Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. “It sounds like they’ve got something to hide.”

Recently released USDA documents also show that regulators gave in to meat industry pressure on the issue of “downer” animals –– those that are unable to walk to the kill floor under their own steam.

After the Humane Society’s 2008 “sick cow” video, the USDA banned the slaughter of “downer” cattle.

Downed pigs and sheep can still be slaughtered if they pass certain inspections.

But as a result of the scandal, another USDA agency –– the Agricultural Marketing Service, which buys meat for the school lunch program –– reconfigured its purchasing requirements.

An early draft said any plant that processed downed pigs could not sell to the school lunch program, even if that meat went to other customers.

But according to USDA documents obtained by the Humane Society, and verified by The Star, that requirement was dropped after the meat industry objected.

Industry lobbyists said they were concerned that the rule would “preclude pork suppliers from doing business with the Federal commodity purchase program.”

The Humane Society and other groups said they had no opportunity to comment.

A spokeswoman for the American Meat Institute said the policy would “dissuade companies from participating in the school lunch program and ultimately drive up costs with no consumer benefit.”

The spokeswoman, institute Vice President Janet Riley, added that the policy would have been an overreach.

“AMS should not be dictating to companies what products those companies can sell with respect to transactions outside the scope of the school lunch program,” she said.

An AMS official speaking only on background told The Star that the requirement was not dropped because of industry pressure but because the agency realized it would be demanding a wholesale change in meat industry practices.

Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle said the case shows that the Agriculture Department bent to the will of the meat industry.

“USDA has historically been more a protector of the meat industry than a serious-minded enforcer of the laws,” Pacelle said.

News Link:-http://www.kansascity.com/2013/06/28/4320072/animal-abuse-persists-at-some.html

Undercover videos

Here are links to three undercover videos of animals abused on their way to slaughter; some scenes are quite graphic.

Humane Society video showing sick cows being pushed by a forklift: http://youtu.be/CrxvxewC-gA

Humane Society video of veal calves being abused:http://youtu.be/LnlusPCzXI0

An undercover video showing abuse of pigs at Smithfield Foods. The company later changed its practices:http://youtu.be/L_vqIGTKuQE

Watch an American Meat Institute video about proper humane handling procedures: http://youtu.be/LsEbvwMipJI

Graphic Video Inc. Circus Was About Exploitation and Cruelty

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“Please note I added the videos as extras, which I have used before; but they are not connected or related to the news link. Please sign petitions regarding circuses (which are included on the homepage) New Petitions Constantly Being Added etc. You will find petitions of all kinds regarding animal abuse. So please consider signing a few others whilst you’re there; every signature helps fight against animal abuse! Thanks”

The Carson & Barnes Circus has come and gone, and if caring area residents knew more about the cruel treatment of animals used by the circus, they’ll think twice before welcoming it back.

A Video I Found Of the Elephants Uploaded April 2013

These elephants are forced to perform, beaten into submission, their bodies posed in unnatural positions; that puts great strain & pain on their joints. See the man walking round with the bullhook in his hands; a tool greatly feared by the elephants & for good reason!! This is not entertainment, this is elephants being abused, degraded & forced to perform through fear & violence…just for your entertainment. Please look past the glamour & sparkle; have you ever seen an elephant perform like this in the wild?? NO never…I rest my case!!! 

Carson & Barnes recently paid to settle 10 alleged violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including failure to maintain control of an elephant who sustained injuries after running down a steep slope and falling, inadequate shelter and fencing for elephants, transporting elephants in an unsafe manner, and for leaving elephants unattended during rides.

Watch How Elephants Are Trained…Hear Them Scream In Pain…Still Think It’s Ok To Go To The Circus???? Well It’s Hell On Earth For Animals

” Disgusting Animal Abuse & disgusting language from a disgusting piece of Sxxt in the guise of an elephant trainer. He is not an animal trainer, he is a bully, a thug, who enjoys inflicting pain on anything he considers beneath him…would you let him train your dog?? No, then please think on, whenever you see an animal performing stupid tricks for human entertainment….it’s not because it enjoys doing it; it’s through sheer fear, beatings, pain, denial of food & water etc. & that animals knows what will happen… if it doesn’t perform for his master!!”

Viewer Discretion Advised - Undercover footage from Carson & Barnes Circus

Uploaded on 18 Jan 2012

Undercover footage from Carson & Barnes Circus – elephant training Support 

A U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector saw a handler with no elephant experience repeatedly use “excessive force while tugging at” the elephant with a bullhook—a rod with a sharp steel hook on one end. Another trainer was caught on video viciously attacking terrified elephants with bullhooks and electric prods and instructing other trainers to hurt the elephants until they scream, to sink a bullhook into their flesh and twist it, and to conceal the beatings from the public.

The circus has repeatedly been cited for failure to provide animals with veterinary care, minimum space, shelter from the elements, adequate ventilation, and clean water.

The time is long overdue to stop pretending that animal acts are anything other than cruel exploitation.

News Link:-http://trib.com/opinion/letters/circus-was-about-exploitation-and-cruelty/article_0e0471b8-fe29-5599-a042-888f85fde804.html

DA Declines To Prosecute Horse Shooter: Videoed Himself Shooting Horse To Annoy Animal Activist

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In an April 12 letter to the New Mexico Livestock Board, the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office, which covers Chaves, Eddy and Lea Counties, said it won’t seek charges against Tim Sappington – the man who created uproar after filming himself shooting a horse last month.

District Attorney Janetta Hicks explains that’s because “Mr. Sappington’s conduct was not a violation of New Mexico law.”

She writes that Sappington killed the horse for his own consumption, which is a commonly accepted agricultural and animal husbandry practice; it’s also excluded from the state’s extreme animal cruelty statute. The state also reviewed federal laws, and determined that Sappington also acted in accordance with those slaughtering standards.

“The was verified through the interview with Mr. Sappington, video clips of Mr. Sappington actually processing and storing the horse after shooting it, and recovery of horse meat packaged for human consumption,” Hicks writes.

Even so, Hicks, in her letter, also pointed out the video clip featuring Sappington’s incendiary comments and the abrupt manner in which he killed the horse “demonstrated infectivity as well a poor judgment.”

The shooting incident came after Sappington, an employee of Valley Meat Company outside of Roswell, said he and his family was fed up with the threats they had received from animal activists because the company was seeking United States Department of Agriculture approval for a domestic horse slaughtering plant.

Link to:-Horse Shooting Letter

News Link:http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S2996640.shtml?cat=504

Detroit’s Tiger Cub Photo Represents The Opposite Of Hope For Big Cats

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UPDATE: Since this posting, the Detroit Tigers organization has taken these photos down from its website and Facebook page….

Today is the official opening day for Major League Baseball in America.

For many, the day signifies hope – a new season, a fresh start, a promise of a good year. Millions of fans from all over the nation flock to stadiums to cheer on their favorite baseball heroes. Many of these fans are children who look up to the athletes as role models and emulate their behaviors.

This is why we were especially disappointed to hear that, last Friday (March 29), the Detroit Tigers organization posted photos on its Facebook page of its star players handling a tiger cub at a spring training game.

The photos got so much attention that they were subsequently posted on USA Today’s website.

Undoubtedly, the Tigers, like so many other animal enthusiasts in the U.S., did not realize that cub photo ops represent the very opposite of “hope”.

Not only do the photos send the wrong message that handling a wild big cat and treating it like a “pet” is an acceptable thing to do, and frighteningly, despite the fact that 17 adults and 5 children in the U.S. have been killed and nearly 300 other people have been injured by captive big cats within recent years, many people added comments to the Facebook posting that express enthusiasm for owning a tiger, but these photo op’s also represent less than a hopeful situation for the poor cub.

After all, he was brought to the ballpark by Dade City‘s Wild Things Zoo, a private zoo that shamefully allows the public to swim, bottle feed and cuddle with tiger cubs and has repeatedly been cited by the USDA due to poor veterinary care, improper cub handling, and unacceptable fencing, among other disturbing issues.  

Dozens of U.S. traveling zoos and roadside exhibitors profit from charging the public a fee to pet and pose with tiger cubs and other large big cats.

People don’t realize when they patronize these facilities that they are contributing to a huge public safety and animal welfare problem that exists in the U.S. today.

After the cubs grow too big and dangerous for handling, all too often they could be kept in someone’s backyard; sent to a roadside zoo; bred incessantly to further fuel the cub handling trade, or could even be killed.  

In one notorious incident of severe cruelty, investigators found more than 90 dead tigers, including 58 cubs stuffed into freezers, on the property a self-professed animal “rescuer” who charged admission for people to visit the tigers.

This is why passing the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act – a nationwide ban on private big cat ownership and breeding that will soon been reintroduced in Congress-is so important.

The Detroit tigers now have a key opportunity to use their national voice to turn this around and pledge that they will, in the future, choose not to pose with tiger cubs because they would never knowingly want to support an industry that thrives off the exploitation of big cats.

This would be a most appropriate way to kick off a season of hope. -TC

For more information about our efforts to protect big cats in captivity, visit our campaign page.

Petition link:-http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/get-involved/support-big-cat-and-public-safety-protection-act

News Link:-http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/news/detroits-tiger-cub-photo-represents-opposite-hope-big-cats

“Please note I have the required permission from f IFAW to post news stories.”

A Tiger, a Truck Stop And A Pitched Legal Battle

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“Please let me point out, that at no time, have I ever said Tony is abused or cruelly treated. My issue & that of most advocates for Tony, is simply his living enclosure & it’s site at the truck stop. Please see the videos & sign the petition at the end of this post…thank you!”

GROSSE TETE, La. — The American truck stop is a promise of certain reliable’s  a shower, a warm meal, some small talk at the counter, a 24/7 source of diesel, beef jerky and cigarettes

Tony, a Bengal-Siberian tiger, is kept on the premises at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La. Web sites have been created urging Tony’s removal, letters have been written, and public officials have been lobbied

Tony, a Bengal-Siberian tiger, is kept on the premises at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La. Web sites have been created urging Tony’s removal, letters have been written, and public officials have been lobbied

The truck stop here just west of Baton Rouge offers all those things, but as most southern Louisianians know, it has another less standard feature: a 550-pound Bengal-Siberian tiger.

Tony is only the latest in a line of tigers to live here. Thirteen cubs were born at the truck stop, and several adult tigers brought in, including a white tiger named Salena who died of pancreatic cancer in the early 2000s and is now stuffed and sitting in the Tiger Cafe atop the salad bar.

Tony, who is 12 years old, spends his days draped languidly on top of his cinder-block den or pacing around the grass in his 40-foot-by-80-foot caged enclosure on one side of the parking lot, seemingly as unriveted by the truckers as they are by him. “The enclosure gates have been filmed open many times, but Tony often prefers to paces back & forth in his concrete enclosure. His enclosure may be large for a tiger living in a yard, but size is nothing…it’s what’s in it that makes all the difference. There is nothing for Tony to do nor any natural foliage to make it appear more like his natural habitat. Tony does not have a swimming pool, although Mr. Sandlin has been quoted several times, saying it is a pool; it’s a horse feed trough or something similar. Irrelevant of what it is, it’s way too small for Tony to sit in never mind swim; In all the years I have been advocating for Tony’s move, i have never once seen him dip so much as a toe in that water trough & I’ll bet nobody can find any evidence of him being in it (apart from possibly when he was a young cub)!”

He also appears unmoved by his role at the centre  of a costly and complicated legal dispute, pitting claims of property rights against animal rights and prompting regular news reports about his impending removal. The legal fight has gone on for years. Tony remains.

“It’s become more of a liability than an asset,” said Michael Sandlin, 50, who has run the truck stop for the past 25 years. “But it’s not the money. It’s the principle.

The Tiger Truck Stop has long been a thorn in the paw of animal rights organizations and many animal lovers generally. Web sites have been created urging Tony’s removal, letters have been written, public officials lobbied. Robert Barham, the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, described “cases of mail from every state and a host of foreign countries.” Still, he said, state veterinarians sent to inspect Tony invariably returned with reports of good health. “Good, I’m glad some vets have seen him, but was it a routine check or did he have bloods, scans etc. to check his internal organs are not being effected by the air born fumes? I would sure like to see a copy of that report!”

Matthew Liebman, a lawyer for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, based in California, acknowledged that Tony’s situation was not the worst he had ever seen, though he and others worry about the tiger’s constant exposure to exhaust and diesel fumes.

“The bottom line for us is that tigers don’t belong in truck stops,” Mr. Liebman said. “I think it reflects a pretty commodified, objectifying view of animals that we don’t support — that they are objects of entertainment, that they are gimmicks to sell gasoline.

In 2006, the state passed a law that put limits on “big exotic cat” possession, but allowed anyone who owned such a cat at the time to be grandfathered in. Mr. Sandlin, who had kept tigers here for nearly two decades, was granted a permit for Tony. But in a 2011 trial, lawyers for the animal defense fund showed that a parish law that was on the books in 2006 prohibited keeping exotic animals and argued that he should not have been exempted from the new law. The judge agreed and ordered Mr. Sandlin’s state permit revoked.

Mr. Sandlin, who still has a federal permit, has appealed the decision, and has also filed a separate lawsuit arguing that the state law itself is unconstitutional because it is applied unevenly and leaves too much discretion to enforcement officials.

Still, he has been looking for a retirement home for Tony. This search generated its own outcry when he said he was leaning toward a wildlife park in Oklahoma owned by a man who calls himself Joe Exotic, but whose real name is Joe Schreibvogel.

Mr. Schreibvogel’s park has attracted a good deal of controversy itself and is being investigated by federal officials for 23 tiger cub deaths. Although this was found to be tainted formulae.  But Mr. Sandlin said he believed that it provided good care, and did not trust others to know what was good for Tony. “Now with Joe Exotic becoming bankrupt, how will this effect Tony, will Mr Sandlin still prefer to move him their, will he still be able to move him their or will he choose an accredited sanctuary; which Tony deserves. Joe Exotic has been asking for donations to build Tony an enclosure, for some time now. He has been quoted as saying, it would be off the usual track visitors take, so Tony can be private! Yet Mr. Sandlin say’s Tony is used to noise??? I have just found the same article on Joe Exotics new web page; the name of the park has change to The Garold Wayne interactive Zoological Park:-http://www.gwpark.org/Tony-The-Tiger.php

“He’s used to the noise from the Interstate and the trucks,” Mr. Sandlin said. “He’s used to people coming up here and looking at him.”

“To tear him away from this,” he said, breaking off, then added, “I think it would be very cruel because that’s what he’s used to.”

Mr. Sandlin and his opponents see the world rather differently. The phrase “animal rights activist,” particularly if it means someone who would ban the private ownership of exotic animals, is to Mr. Sandlin a disparagement on its face. (A T-shirt for sale in the truck stop store reads “Animal Rights Activists Taste Like Chicken.”)

But he takes no offence when critics deride him as a purveyor of roadside entertainment. He considers himself an ally of the travelling circuses that occasionally stop here, and he allows the elephants to graze out back. “Why when he has plenty land at the back, did he build the enclosure at the front; if it was not for monetary gain?”

The idea of a tiger truck stop had been his father’s, but opening one here seemed particularly apt given that the mascot of nearby Louisiana State University is a tiger. (The university keeps its own tiger, Mike VI, in an enclosure next to the football stadium.) “Yes, & you want to see his enclosure in fact I will post a video of it at the bottom so you can see the difference!”

So in 1988, Mr. Sandlin arrived from Houston with Toby and Rainbow, he a mostly Bengal mix, she a pure-bred Siberian. In 2000, after the sale of a tiger truck stop owned by Mr. Sandlin’s father in West Texas, Toby and Rainbow were joined by Tony and Salena. “But didn’t Toby & Rainbow end up at a tiger sanctuary?”

In the ensuing years, the United States Department of Agriculture issued several citations to the truck stop, among other things for allowing cubs to run loose around the office. Mr. Sandlin paid a fine and sold all the tigers but Tony.

About 35 people work at the truck stop, including a sister of Michael Sandlin’s; a brother-in-law; a niece; a nephew; Mr. Sandlin’s mother, Virginia, who handles billing; and his domestic partner of 26 years, Scott Holbrook, who is the vice president of the truck stop as well as the video poker manager. “No mention of the person that cares for Tony, cleans his enclosure or feeds him then?”

There is also a middle-aged man named Ray Jackson, who buses tables at the restaurant and who will sing on command. Seeing him outside the Tiger Cafe, Mr. Sandlin said the word and Mr. Jackson stopped immediately and sang “Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross.”

“People get a kick out of that,” Mr. Sandlin said.

For now, there is the wait for a ruling. An immediate change is unlikely even then, but as a breed, the tiger truck stop’s days may be numbered.

There are certainly some substandard roadside zoos,” Mr. Liebman said. “But this is the only truck stop tiger I know of.”

News Link:-http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/28/us/truck-stop-tiger-in-louisiana-stirs-legal-battle.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Petition to send Tony to an accredited Sanctuary:http://www.change.org/petitions/ldwf-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary

News from the Animal Legal Defence Fund on Tony:-http://aldf.org/article.php?id=1675

UPDATE (15) Aug 11, 2011: Mike VI, the LSU Bengal Tiger Mascot’s HABITAT

My dear friend Cloversweed has around 40 videos of Tony, taken personally with no editing. What you see is what you get. Check out the ones that show no water in the so called pool, & the one with a live kitten sat in Tony’s feed area…Cloversweed has captured a lot of evidence to suggest that  a truck stop is not  the right place for a Tiger to live. Please visit her Channel:-http://www.youtube.com/user/cloversweed

Uploaded on 13 Aug 2011

Mike, the LSU Bengal Tiger Mascot taken Aug 11, 2011
Mike the Tiger has one of the finest habitats in the USA. 
Mike’s HISTORY follows, but first please read the NOTE I have posted below concerning Tony, the “truck stop tiger”.

UPDATE #34 (01.22.13):Tony, “the Truck Stop Tiger”- A Trucker’s Opinion.Vid2

Published on 23 Jan 2013

1. NOTE: You will see ALL TONY in Video One and Tony does not look good at all… http://youtu.be/_oW85GzKEWg
PLEASE READ video description in Video ONE.

2. In this video, Video 2 of 2, Tony had just returned back to his concrete bed and this truck driver came over to try to get a picture. This gentleman also expressed his feelings/concerns about Tony’s situation. I found his views interesting.

3.TONY UPDATE: On Tuesday, February 19, 2013 the courts will hear ALDF’s oral arguments in the appeal to free Tony. 
http://aldf.org/article.php?id=2233#….
*Video ONE has been submitted to our ALDF contact and we certainly hope can be used in this hearing.

UPDATE # 35 (01.22.13):Tony, “the Truck Stop Tiger” Vid 1 OF 2

Tell USDA To Do Its Job And Help Elephant Nosey: Please Sign

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The USDA has yet again let a chronic violator of federal animal welfare standards get away with little more than a slap on the wrist.

PLEASE  Help save NOSEY A Very lonely Elephant Who Deserves Freedom

Just days before Hugo Liebel was set to face a hearing on March 26, 2013 for 33 violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the USDA announced it had reached a settlement. Instead of revoking Liebel’s license and handing down a maximum penalty of $330,000, the USDA settled with the agreement that Liebel would pay a meagre civil penalty of $7,500 and cease and desist from violating the AWA.

This settlement is a shocking disappointment and a pathetic excuse for government oversight.

For decades, Liebel has blatantly ignored his legal responsibilities and the well being of the elephant Nosey, and other animals he uses for circus shows. The 33 charges described years of mistreatment including failure to provide veterinary care for the weight loss and chronic skin condition of Nosey, chaining her so tightly that she could not move or lie down, and handling her in a way that was dangerous to her and to the public. The charges also included an incident involving a critically endangered spider monkey who escaped and was not recaptured for 10 days.

With your help, IDA has monitored Liebel for years, documenting numerous, flagrant violations of the AWA as he dragged Nosey and other animals around the country to give rides and perform.

IDA submitted multiple complaints with supporting evidence to the USDA, urging the agency to take action to protect Nosey and the public. When the USDA finally filed charges against Liebel in 2011, IDA hoped the agency was finally taking meaningful action to help Nosey. But yet again, the USDA squandered this opportunity to hold Liebel accountable for ignoring the law.

As long as Nosey remains with Liebel, her suffering will continue.

Use the form below to fax Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who is responsible for ensuring that the agency enforce AWA regulations.

Tell Sec. Vilsack that you are outraged by the USDA’s settlement with Hugo Liebel. Remind Sec. Vilsack that with this settlement, Nosey’s suffering will continue as long as she remains with Liebel. Urge Sec. Vilsack to order the USDA to confiscate Nosey. Then call him, also!

Please visit the following & send the fax:-https://secure2.convio.net/ida/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=2367&JServSessionIdr004=gaqslixzp1.app245b

NOSEY THE ELEPHANT

Published on 2 Oct 2012 – Wendy Michaels

1:14 little movie about NOSEY. On behalf of Nosey let USDA know how you feel:
JUDGE JANICE BULLARD 1-202-720-4443. 1-202-720-9776 (fax)
USDA atty COLLEEN CARROLL colleen.carroll@usda.gov

Horse-killing Video Draws Wide Reaction: Sappington Dismissed

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A video of a Roswell slaughterhouse employee fatally shooting a horse after swearing at “animal activists” has sparked outrage across the country.

Officials with the state Livestock Board also are investigating to see if the video depicts animal cruelty, according to the Albuquerque Journal. The board executed a search warrant Thursday at the Dexter home of Tim Sappington, who had worked in maintenance for the Roswell area Valley Meat Co., the Journal reported.

Tim Sappington

Sappington, who is shown in the video, was quoted about how he enjoyed eating horse meat in a report by Bloomberg News. Members of animal support groups began contacting media outlets about the year-old video Thursday after the Bloomberg report was circulated.

Albuquerque Business First received several calls and emails after it posted a link to the Bloomberg report on its website.

Valley Meat Co. is seeking USDA inspections so it can begin slaughtering horses to export the meat to Mexico and overseas markets. It issued a statement confirming that the man in the video is Sappington. It also said Sappington has been dismissed.

The company’s Albuquerque lawyer, A. Blair Dunn, said Valley Meat fired Sappington after becoming aware of the video, which has now become the focus of a public relations campaign by the Horse Plus Humane Society, according to the Journal.

We agree that his (Sappington’s) comments were regrettably crass, not contributing anything to this dialogue so we do not condone his statements,” according to the Valley Meat statement, “but he was within his lawful rights to slaughter and butcher a horse and he was not acting as an employee of the company in that action.”

Dunn told the Journal that since Valley Meat began trying to become the first company in the U.S. since 2006 to slaughter horses for the consumer market, the company’s owners and staff have received death threats and bomb threats. The slaughterhouse has also been burglarized and vandalized, Dunn told the Journal

News Link:-http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/blog/morning-edition/2013/03/horse-killing-video-draws-wide-reaction.html

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